She was walking down Main Street, fingers nestled in her gray sweatshirt. Admittedly, she was a little woozy, a little warmer than usual. The stench of liquor stained her breath. She stumbled and leaned against the graffiti-splattered brick walls, catching her balance.
Her friends had left her alone, trusting that the ever-so responsible girl would make it back home safe. After all, she was usually the “mom”, not the child. She plodded on, all alone. Although inebriated, she had enough of her senses to make the trek.
The dimly lit street smelled of old rain. She was almost childlike, her senses elevated. She noted a star, far up in the sky. A slap-happy, innocent smile overwhelmed her face as she thought about the brilliance of the star. She wanted to be that brilliant one day.
Lost in her thoughts, mind tainted by spirits, she almost did not notice the hands, thrusting her away from the sparkling city lights. Hands muffled her mouth, rendering her unable to scream. She was confused, frozen. It was as if time had stopped and all that was left was this one, terrible moment.
Things like this didn’t happen, right?
She pleaded at the sky, pleaded at the stars, pleaded at that brilliant star to save her. She bit the offending hand, but it refused to let her go. In fact, he seemed to relish in her fear. He smiled with his ugly, yellowed teeth, as she looked on, horrified. Her strength was draining, her vision blurrier than before as she was coerced into darkness.
Where did all of the brilliance go?
She woke up on a ratchet board in a dimly lit alley, hands bound behind her back, continuously pricked by splintery wood. A tall ugly man beamed down at her, greedy, drunk in his lechery. She struggled against her constraints to no avail. His smile seemed almost cartoonish, but his ugly, yellowed teeth destroyed the illusion. As he encroached upon her, she squeezed her eyes shut and tried to be anywhere but here.
Her hands were free, but adorned with two matching Greek bronze armlets. As a matter of fact, she was completely dressed in traditional Greek clothing. After a quick glance around, she appeared to be in some kind of maze. The Labyrinth was made of red bricks and was dimly lit with oil lanterns.
She took a lantern and attempted to make her way to the center of this maze to face whatever was hidden at the center.
It appeared she did not need to wait long.
A loud powerful roar erupted from the left side of the maze. She instinctively flinched.
Her eyes widened in shock. The man grunted appreciatively and pressed himself against her cold, naked body. “Well, well, now the fun begins, huh?” he chuckled. She grimaced and clenched her eyes as he began to trace her neck with his lips.
She turned to see what monstrous creature could have roared with such ferocity. It was the Minotaur.
Half-human, half-bull, but no Greek myth had done him justice. He was uglier than depicted on any vase. His eyes were beady yellow slits, and his upper torso was covered in matted blood, presumably not his own. He stomped towards her, the entire ground quaking at his every footstep. She stumbled backwards and began to run as fast as she could. Her heart was pounding in her head.
But he was too fast. He cornered her.
She fell to the ground and clutched the walls of the Labyrinth helplessly.
She swore she saw him smile.
She let out a loud scream of pain as he thrust into her without warning.
“SHUT UP!” he growled. He stuffed her mouth with an old rag.
“Next time, I’ll bust your pretty face.”
She whimpered and tried to forget. Not here. She’s not here…
The minotaur had seized her in its grip. She was about a tenth of his weight; it was hardly a fair fight. She kicked and struggled as he salivated at his newest prey.
This wasn’t how she wanted to go. Where was her Theseus?
The walls of Daedalus’s Hell seemed to be closing in on her as his breath got closer and closer to her face. She winced as a drop of monster saliva dripped down her chest.
Why did the City of Athens choose her to be the sacrifice? God, she wasn’t even a virgin. It was like winning the lottery, except with a death penalty.
She kicked and struggled as much as she could. The minotaur just got more and more aggressive, beginning to savor his meal. He bit at her fingers, her toes as she screamed. Saliva had almost covered her entire body, and she looked like a well-oiled machine part. So slowly, he began to swallow her whole, and let out a loud roar when he was finally done.
He groaned loudly as he indulged in her for what seemed like the millionth time. There were burgundy and emerald bruises scattered all over her body. A small trail of blood trickled down her leg. She finally opened her eyes as he began to put on his clothes.
“Now, you be a good girl. You won’t tell anyone, will you?” he asked, while zipping up his pants.
She stared at him, horrified. She shook her head vigorously.
He smirked. “Good.” He patted her on the head lightly and cut her bounds before he left the alley.
It was finally over. He was gone. He just… he left. He treated her like an object, and threw her away in an alley.
She could already imagine the whispers, the looks of pity, the sneers, the taunts. A shudder passed through her body. She shook with silent tears streaming down her face as she grabbed what was left of her clothes. God knows where her shoes where.
She looked up at the sky. That beautiful star, that star had faded away. It had lost its brilliance and was now desolate, desperate.
She flinched and turned to look at a broken Budweiser bottle. The shattered glass was splayed across the floor.
Will you? The question echoed through her mind. Will you, won’t you?
She glanced at the shattered glass. It was only her first month as a grad student in Stanford. She had worked so hard to get here, but here she was. She felt broken. All because of that stupid Budweiser.
It’s not real.
It’s not real.
She pleaded at the dark night sky.
It’s not real. It’s not real.
It was now a mantra, pounding through her head, pounding in her brain as she began to walk home, barefoot, glass sinking into her feet. All she left behind was her blood and a tattered gray sweatshirt.
His last question still echoed through her mind.
She could not bear to see the pity, the pity of her friends, of her family, of her fiance.
She wanted to die. She didn’t want her fiance’s pity. She didn’t want anyone’s pity.
It’s not real.
Tears streamed down her face angrily as she wondered why, why her? It was like she was living in some horrendous nightmare, and she was paralyzed. All she wanted to do was wake up, to somehow escape this hell. She didn’t want the people she cared about to look at her with such… such pity, such rue.
She shivered from the freezing cold.
Maybe she wouldn’t be so cold if she wore more clothes.
Or if that man hadn’t destroyed her favorite sweatshirt.
Maybe he wouldn’t have destroyed her sweatshirt if she wore more clothes.
Thump. Thump. She wasn’t sure why her heart that was drumming so loudly. She could just imagine what they would all think, what her fiance would think.
What a shame. What a pity.
She dug her fingernails into the palms of her hand, and plodded along with her head down. Maybe she could just hide for a moment, pretend like everything was normal.
But could anything be normal anymore?
She closed her eyes, and all she could see was the ugly man grinning at her with his ugly yellowed teeth.
His yellowed teeth.
She pleaded up at the sky. It looked so dark. Where was the star now? Where had it disappeared to? Had it found some other heaven to entrance, now that she was broken?
I’m sorry, she screamed to the empty night.
She gritted her teeth, regretting every action of the night, regretting the alcohol, regretting her clothes, regretting her existence. She didn’t know what to do. She felt like a child. A child, apologizing for their mistakes. She never wanted this. She didn’t want THIS.
She looked down at herself. She was pathetic. She was a mess. She was a bumbling fool, a pathetic mess, a pathetic girl, silly girl.
What was she thinking?
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
But no one could know what a pitiful stupid mess she was.
So she gritted her teeth, snuck into her apartment through the back, took a shower, stumbled into bed, and cried to forget.